Friday, 4 May 2018

UK Fisheries white paper - draft version in full.

The long-awaited and much anticipated draft Fisheries white paper 2018 in its entirety which was due to be published last summer but has been subjected to a series of delays.

A draft of the fisheries white paper 
proposes that “the most modern technology” be used to monitor fishing vessels, as well as additional “robust systems”, such as extra patrols and aerial surveillance. The draft says new legislation will include measures “to enable the UK better to control access to our fishing waters . . . by designating which countries’ vessels may fish in these areas and enforcing against those who don’t comply”. It also suggests that the Joint Maritime Operations Co-ordination Centre will harmonise “cross-agency patrol capabilities, information sharing and aerial surveillance”. For some immediate in-depth comment from around the country read this coverage from the Financial Times.

The BBC responded by picking up on the idea of the UK retaining the right to veto fisheries negotiations over Scotland in Brussels during the transition period: 

"The UK government would retain a veto over Scotland in international fisheries negotiations, according to a draft white paper seen by BBC Scotland.

The paper, which is still to be finalised, sets out a framework for quota talks where devolved institutions would be consulted on the UK government's negotiating position.

It said there would be a "duty of cooperation" within the delegation and that "wherever possible consensus will be sought on negotiating priorities".

However, it admits that the Secretary of State would have the power to make a final decision if there is a disagreement within the delegation.

What is the Brexit 'transition' phase?
The Scottish government has accused Westminster of a "power grab" over responsibilities which are already devolved.

Fisheries management is one of the 24 powers over which UK ministers want to temporarily retain power.

French trawlers entering Newlyn.

The draft white paper also says the Fisheries Bill will include proposals for powers for the UK government to control access to UK waters.

It will include legislative powers, it adds, "for the UK government to set fishing opportunities".

'Set out vision'

This refers to the amount of fish which is allowed to be caught.

It reinforces the commitment to stick to scientific principles which ensure that collectively the EU and the coastal states of Norway, Faroes Islands and Iceland do not overfish.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said: "We are committed to safeguarding the interests of our vital fishing communities and will continue to work closely with Scotland and other devolved administrations to develop a future fishing policy that works for the whole of the UK.

"Our white paper will set out our vision for the industry and will be published in due course. We do not comment on leaked documents."

The Scottish government has been approached for comment.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, told BBC Scotland: "This is about jobs, communities and fisheries management.

"Talk of power grabs or vetoes is unhelpful."